If you're considering LASIK eye surgery to improve your vision, you may be wondering if there are any alternatives. Fortunately, there are several options available for those who don't qualify for LASIK or who would benefit from a different type of laser surgery. The four main alternatives to traditional LASIK are LASEK, phakic intraocular lens implants, Epi-LASIK and refractive lens exchange surgery. LASEK (laser epithelial keratomileusis) is a variation of PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) and is used to treat astigmatism, nearsightedness, or farsightedness.
During the procedure, the epithelium is peeled off, moistened with a dilute alcohol solution and folded back. A laser then remodels the cornea and the flap is repositioned with a contact lens placed to aid healing. Phakik intraocular lenses (IOLs) are an excellent alternative to LASIK for people who have high degrees of refractive errors. This procedure is similar to cataract surgery, in that the lens of the eye is removed and replaced with a new one.
Epi-LASIK is another option for those who don't qualify for traditional LASIK. During this procedure, an instrument called an epikeratome is used to create a thin flap in the epithelium. The laser then reshapes the cornea and the flap is replaced. Refractive lens exchange surgery is another alternative to LASIK.
This procedure involves removing the natural lens of the eye and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). This type of surgery can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia.Finally, if you have very poor vision, ICL (implantable contact lenses) might be a good option if you're not a good candidate for LASIK or PRK. Through this incision, the laser creates a thin disc within the layers of the cornea, which is removed to adjust the curvature of the cornea and improve the eye's ability to focus.Thanks to advances in lasers and surgical vision correction procedures, there are several different alternatives for people when LASIK isn't an option. It's important to talk to your doctor about all of your options so that you can make an informed decision about which type of laser eye surgery is best for your health, vision and lifestyle.